As far as creative home projects go, a knitted dishcloth probably isn’t the first thing that pops into people’s heads. It may not sound or look like the most exciting thing in the world, but It can be a good place to start as a beginner knitter or to experiment with stitch design as someone with more experience. For me, a knitted dishcloth has a nostalgic allure I guess, and makes me think of a granny having a stash of them in the cupboard, except I don’t think that ever happened in my family (did it in anyone’s?). In any case, a pretty-looking hand knitted cloth also beats a good old smelly jay cloth hands down. It’s durability means it will last longer than an ordinary cloth, which of course means it saves a little money (in the long run), as well as saving on the waste and packaging of disposables.
“But I can’t knit! /It’ll take ages! /I can’t be arsed!” I hear you cry. Well..firstly, if you dont know how to knit don’t let that put you off. If you want to have a go as a beginner, there are loads of knitting tutorials on youtube . The second bit of good news is that this is the ideal first project- as long as you make it from cotton yarn and there’s something resembling a square by the end, you can still use it with pride, even if it does have a load of holes (just say you were going for a lace effect!) If on the other hand you are knitting already, dishcloths can be quick projects for making samplers of different stitches and combinations.
I made the cloth in the picture with cotton yarn for size 3 or 4mm needles. Cast on 48 sts A spaced out garter stitch for the edges, and an alternating pattern for the middle like so:
Row 1: (k6, P6) to end
Row 2: (P6, K6) to end
Repeat rows 1 and 2 twice more (6 rows total)
next 6 rows: start with row 2 instead
next 6 rows: starting with row 1
Continue in this way until it’s looking almost square, then switch back to garter stitch (every stitch a knit stitch) for the last few rows. This makes a cloth roughly 11″ square.
For a beginner I’d recommend just knitting all the stitches on all rows to make a garter stitch cloth- this also looks lovely and will be my plan for the next one! It did take me a long time to make but I love the look of it and also the eco ethos behind it. The yarn can also be very cheap to buy, and you can make it extra ecological by using organic cotton if you so desire. There are also loads of free patterns on ravelry if you want some more inspiration.
It’s worth noting that when it’s first made, the dishcloth will probably feel and look “too nice” to use, but it will start getting more dish-cloth like after a wash. It did feel a bit weird to start with (a bit like doing the dishes with a wooly jumper), but after that the fibres settled down. Still looks great, and you can make them in different colours/ patterns to brighten the washing up experience!